The U.S. is rapidly approaching another watershed moment, with the stopgap funding of the Highway Trust Fund running out at the end of July. Although the likelihood appears to be another kicking of the can down the road, there may be a growing realization even in Congress that the continuation of the status quo is a recipe for decline. For me, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate function for the federal government than the funding and enhancement of our national transportation system.
Although the actual number of attacks on shipping has diminished, the fact that thieves still manage to get on board ships underway in a navigation channel or alongside at a container terminal makes the case for good watchkeeping. Every potential attack is a potential fatality, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. However, in comparison with the fear that shipping faced in 2010–12, there is a sense of normal business with predictable business risks in mid-2015.
Misdeclaration of cargo and weight by shippers whether unintentional or otherwise has been part of container shipping since its beginning. And the problem is only growing because containers carry a greater percentage of global trade, ships are getting much bigger, and competitive pressures throughout the system often lead players to turn a blind eye to safety. The two fundamental challenges are ensuring the weight and the description of cargo are accurate.
The 1980s brought us Reaganomics. 2012 brought us Abenomics, the economic revitalization effort by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. And a year after China’s surprising rejection of the P3 partnership among the world’s three largest ocean carriers, it’s clear container lines have adopted their own form of economics. Call it Alliance-omics. It aims to pull its target beneficiaries out of recession (carriers’ combined losses in the last several years measure in the billions).
It was a secret ballot, but the decision of the 40-strong International Maritime Organization Council was clear: Lim Ki-tack will be the next secretary-general of the IMO, if the IMO Assembly gives its approval in November.
A third-party agent questions the liability for a shipment that was fully crated and signed for a clear delivery by the consignee. Damage was noted after unpacking. The carrier was asked to pay a damage claim, but said it wasn’t alone in the blame. Responsibility should be shared by the shipper, the carrier and the receiver, it said. Is there any recourse?
As we enter the second half of 2015, the year is unfolding as an amalgamation of pleasant and unpleasant surprises, a stinging interview, some conflicting actions and actions that defy logic. Many shipping interests might say, “So what’s new? It’s a typical year for the industry.”
Congress has failed to fully support interstate commence — a job tasked to it by our founding fathers.
The International Longshoremen's Association, in opening the door to the possibility of a long-term contract, certainly is looking to capitalize on the congestion and raw memories of the recent past that have put West Coast ports in shipper crosshairs. The ILA, indeed, is preying on that shipper sentiment, and the soon-to-open expanded Panama Canal that could shift more cargo from West Coast to East Coast. And who can blame it? That’s business.
President Obama’s legacy now will be defined at least in part by success on trade. It was indeed an achievement to have secured the first presidential “fast track” authority in eight years, paving way for completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 nations covering 40 percent of U.S. trade. But without transportation, there can be no trade. Expanding trade agreements without improving the infrastructure needed to handle it defeats the purpose.
China’s slowing economy has led to port development projects being delayed as operating companies start to leverage more powerful IT software and more focused management expertise.
Don’t have the time to rehash last year and want to know what’s in store for the next 18 months? You’ve got freight to move, so here are the takeaways from the annual State of Logistics report released on Tuesday by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and reporting.
A collection agency asks about the lack of a “Section 7” on a bill of lading, protecting a shipper from charges on a collect shipment, and wants to know if he can collect from the consignee if payment isn’t made by the shipper.
There is a way out of the madness inherent in current labor-management relations in the port sector. Social Dialogue is the North Star that will guide the way.